Most people solely associate the Hellraiser series with Pinhead who, like other horror icons before him, ended up just becoming a bland monster. If you watch the original, though, you’ll notice that Pinhead and his demon cohorts aren’t really just out to kill people. In fact, they really only seem interested in taking particularly morally corrupt people to Hell, and they leave everyone else more or less alone. Human beings are the only ones who commit any sort of murder in the film. The demons are basically just there to pick up the pieces, like oddly dressed janitors.
And if Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street are about horror in suburbia, then Hellraiseris horror for the upper-class. Think about it. The reason Uncle Frank ends up a gooey puddle in the family attic is because he sought out hedonism and excess. He spent his money traveling the world and adventuring, things a poor man could never indulge in. Even the puzzle box itself is presented as an expensive antique. Julia is a bored, rich housewife who engages in affairs with her husband’s brother. The demons themselves are all about mixing pleasure with pain, but it’s not solely sadomasochistic. It’s about the inhumanity that can be found just under the surface of the lives of the elite and the unavoidable punishment that results from it. It’s like a Biblical-based morality play, except it has a bum that turns into a dragon for some reason.
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